Southwest Airlines has officially landed in Branson, Missouri!  As of March 9, 2013, visitors can fly into Branson via Southwest Airlines, making it easier than ever before to travel to the Ozarks.  Branson, Missouri is the 79th city to be added to the Southwest Airlines roster. 

Southwest service at the Branson Airport includes:
  • One daily nonstop flight between Branson and Dallas Love Field
  • One daily nonstop flight between Branson and Houston Hobby
  • One daily nonstop flight between Branson and Chicago Midway
  • One Saturday-only nonstop flight between Branson and Orlando
Southwest attributes its entrance into the market to the roots planted by its wholly-owned subsidiary AirTran Airways.  AirTran began service to the market in 2009 and currently serves one nonstop flight to Atlanta.  Southwest will increase service options for Branson Customers by offering three daily nonstop flights to Dallas Love Field, Houston Hobby, and Chicago Midway, with additional Saturday-only nonstop service to Orlando.  The introduction of Southwest’s larger Boeing 737 aircraft to the market means that passenger seat availability will increase, providing Branson Customers greater access to the airline’s vast network.

The Branson Airport currently has 5 nonstop destinations and one stop connecting service to more than 100 major cities in the United States. Nonstop destinations include: Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Orlando on Southwest Airlines; and Denver on Frontier Airlines.  Known for the unique airport experience and unparalleled customer service, Branson Airport LLC is the first privately developed and operated commercial service airport in the United States. Branson Airport is currently serviced by Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Branson AirExpress (a seasonal chartered service); allowing passengers the ability to access over 100 destinations all on low cost carriers.

Larry’s Country Diner, a popular country music series from RFD-TV, features different musical guests each week including Jimmy Fortune, Dailey and Vincent, Suzy Bogguss, Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent, Moe Bandy and T. Graham Brown.   The stage show is held at the Starlite Theatre.

Special guests announced include:
    • Joey and Rory – April 25th and 26th
    • Bill Anderson – April 27th and 28th
    • Dailey & Vincent – May 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th
    • Gene Watson – May 9th and 10th
    • Exile – May 11th and 12th
    • Riders In The Sky – May 18th and 19th
    • Collin Raye – May 23rd and 24th
    • T. Graham Brown – May 25th and 26th

 

 

Make reservations to see one of the most popular shows on RFD-TV live in Branson!

Attention all Elvis fans!  The 7th Annual Branson Elvis Festival returns to the Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater April 12-14, 2013.  The highlight of the festival, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, will take place on April 13 at 7pm.  It is one of the only competitions sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

During the festival an Elvis Vendor Village, an Elvis Meet and Greet Dinner and Elvis Karaoke Nights are planned.  A full schedule for the festival will be released soon.  Tickets for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest are $26 and can be purchased by calling 800-374-7469.   
While you’re in Branson for the Elvis Festival take in Legends in Concert.  Their Elvis tribute artist, Dean Z, is legendary for his Elvis likeness.  In fact, he steals the show with his signature Elvis moves and voice and is a staple of every performance.

Branson is a city known for its patriotism which makes it all the more fitting Lee Greenwood is set to perform at the Moon River Theatre.  Greenwood, writer and singer of “God Bless the USA,” will play for two nights only – September 27 and 28.

Greenwood is a Grammy Award winner and Male Vocalist of the Year for both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.  “God Bless the USA” was also awarded song of the year by the Country Music Association in 1985.  He also has charted seven No. 1 hits in his career: “Somebody’s Gonna Love You”, “Going, Going, Gone”, “Dixie Road”, “I Don’t Mind the Thorns (If You’re the Rose)”, “Don’t Underestimate My Love For You”, “Hearts Aren’t Made to Break (They’re Made to Love)”, and “Mornin’ Ride”. His 1983 single “I.O.U.” was also a top five hit on the adult contemporary charts, and a No. 53 on the Hot 100.
During his shows in Branson Greenwood will perform all of his hits, and, of course, bring his patriotic pride.  Lee Greenwood tickets go on sale soon. His appearances at the Moon River Theatre are part of the Moon River Weekends Series.  More performers will be announced soon. 

Silver Dollar City hosted a ride preview for Outlaw Run on Wednesday in preparation for the grand opening on March 15, 2013. Luckily, I was able to get one of the first rides on the all-new attraction.  Fast-paced and thrilling, Outlaw Run may just be the best wooden roller coaster I’ve ever rode.

Touted as the world’s most daring wooden roller coaster, Outlaw Run features the world’s steepest drop on a wooden coaster – 162 feet at 81 degrees. It is the only wood roller coaster to twist upside down and, at 68mph, is the second fastest in the world.  Exceptionally smooth, especially for a wooden coaster, Outlaw Run races you through a curved and drop-filled 2, 937-feet of track.  You can really feel the speed of the ride as you zoom from one inversion to the next.    The 16-story drop really gets your heart in your throat (in the best possible way), but the biggest rush was the 720-degree double barrel roll.  Twisting effortlessly around the track, the trains were right side up again before I even had a chance to yell yee-haw! 
Sure to be the highlight of the 2013 season at Silver Dollar City, Outlaw Run is no doubt the best new coaster at any theme park this year.  Reserve two days for the price of one Silver Dollar City tickets now to ride the all-new coaster! 
See what the experience is really like with this point-of-view video of a ride on Outlaw Run:

Merle Haggard is set to play in Branson, Missouri for one night only this summer.  The country music hall of famer will perform at the RFD-TV Theater at 7pm on June 23, 2013.

Haggard has 40 number one hits to his name.  Songs like “Okie from Muskogee,” “Are the Good Times Really Over,” and “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” will be showcased during his show.   Haggard rose to fame by creating the Bakersfield sound with Buck Owens and their band The Strangers. By the 1970s, Haggard was aligned with the growing outlaw country movement, and he has continued to release successful albums through the 1990s and into the 2000s. 
The show, which is produced by Up Close Concerts, is expected to sell out.  Merle Haggard tickets can be purchased directly through the RFD-TV Theater’s box office. 

Get ready for Family Spring Break Days at Silver Dollar City!  Special entertainment,  the chance to be one of the first to ride the all-new Outlaw Run coaster and fantastic deals on Silver Dollar City vacation packages are just a few of the reasons you and your family should make plans in Branson.  Scheduled for March 15-17, 20-24, 28-30 and April 5 and 7, 2013.  Spring Break has never been more fun! 

Here’s what you have to look forward to during your visit:

Be the first to ride all of the attractions at Silver Dollar City, including the all-new Outlaw Run – The World’s Most Daring Wood Coaster as well as rides like Fire in the Hole, Wildfire, PowderKeg and The Giant Swing.

Enjoy special Family Spring Days entertainment:
  • Southern Raised:  Nominated 2013 SPBGMA Midwest Gospel Group of the Year
  • Spoken 4 Quartet: Branson-based quartet featuring soulful Southern Gospel harmonies.
  • Mike Bliss: The master of variety combining magic, juggling, hilarious comedy and more.
  • Sons of the Silver Dollar: Our resident cowpokes serve up songs from the range with plenty of fun.

 

Reserve a discount Silver Dollar City vacation package and you’ll receive an extra day free at Silver Dollar City. That’s right – you’ll get two days of play for the price of one.

Spring Break at Silver Dollar City is the place to be for entertainment, thrilling rides and amazing attractions. Plus, other attractions like Dixie Stampede add even more fun to your stay. Customize your visit to include your favorite Branson attractions today.

By April, most of the new 2013 shows are open along with many of the attractions in town. Avoid the heat and crowds of the summer and enjoy beautiful Branson in the spring.

Below are upcoming events for April:
April 4-7: Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home Celebration
A Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home Celebration Ceremony at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre, a Welcome Home Celebration Parade at the Branson Landing and more is planned for this event. 

April 12-14: Branson Elvis Festival
The highlight of the Branson Elvis Festival, the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, will take place on Saturday, April 13 at 7pm. This contest is one of a select few tribute competitions sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

April 17-May 5: WorldFest Begins at Silver Dollar City
Don’t miss America’s largest international festival. WorldFest at Silver Dollar City features amazing performances from all over the world along with topnotch international cuisine.
April 24-25: See The World In Branson Music Fest
Enjoy two days of internationally inspired activities in the Marketplace Tent and Music Showcase. See 20 different Branson shows on one stage in two days! New for this year is the Savor the Flavors of the World Cooking Stage with your favorite Branson Entertainers. For reservations or more information, call 417-337-7469.

Are you ready for March Madness in the Ozarks?  The NAIA Basketball Tournament will return to the College of the Ozarks March 6 – 12, 2013. This is the 14th year C of O has hosted the Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championship is a 32-team, single elimination tournament featuring the champions of the Division II conferences and at-large berths. All games are played in the Keeter Gymnasium at College of the Ozarks.
The tournament has become a Branson tradition for visitors and locals alike. With tickets only $15 for reserved seats and $10 for general admission, it is an affordable way to see athletes from across the nation compete for championship glory. You can also purchase a Tournament Pass for $65 for general seating and $95 for reserved seating.  Plus, with so many things to do in Branson, many people take in a game and also see a Branson show or two while they’re here.
NAIA Tournament schedule is as follows:
First Round on Wednesday, March 6 with eight games
Day Session – 8:30am, 10:15am, 12:00pm, 1:45pm
Evening Session – 4:00pm, 5:45pm, 8:00pm, 9:45pm

First Round on Thursday, March 7 with eight games
Day Session – 8:30am, 10:15am, 12:00pm, 1:45pm
Evening Session – 4:00pm, 5:45pm, 7:30pm, 9:15pm

Second Round on Friday, March 8 with eight games
Day Session – 8:30am, 10:15am, 12:00pm, 1:45pm
Evening Session – 4:00pm, 5:45pm, 7:30pm, 9:15pm

Quarterfinals on Saturday, March 9 with four games
at 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm

Semifinals on Monday, March 11, with games at 6:00pm and 8:00pm.

Championship on Tuesday, March 12 at 7:30pm (CST) – televised on CBS College Sports.

If you plan on attending games at during the NAIA Championship at C of O, check-in to The Keeter Center. Its rustic lodge design combines beautifully with the scenic landscape of the Ozarks and it is located right outside the gates to College of the Ozarks, putting you in a perfect location for the games and just a few miles from the heart of Branson.